The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office will pay a $104,000 settlement to family who was injured after their car was hit head-on by a sheriff’s deputy speeding toward a call for service.
A settlement agreement filed in Greenville County Circuit Court shows that the driver of the car that was struck, Lamara Wilson, and his passenger, Jaquita Suit, will receive $40,000 and $55,000, respectively, from the sheriff’s office. The two children who were passengers in the car will receive $4,500 each.
The crash occurred in October 2017 on Secondary Road 272 in Greenville County. The sheriff’s deputy, Jonathan Carroll, was responding to a call for service with his lights and siren on when he drove left of center and hit Wilson’s vehicle head-on. Wilson suffered a broken wrist and bruises. Suit broke her sternum and had bruised ribs, and the children had minor soft-tissue injuries.
The complaint alleged that Carroll was “negligent, careless, reckless, grossly negligent, willful and wanton” at the time of the incident by failing to obey traffic laws, driving too fast for conditions, and failing to maintain a proper lookout.
“Our clients are pleased with the outcome and happy to put this chapter of their lives behind them so they can move forward with raising their children,” said Justin Bamberg of Bamberg Legal in Bamberg and Fatima Zeidan of Eicholtz Law Firm in Savannah, Georgia, who represented the plaintiffs.
Wilson sued the sheriff, but he did not sue the deputy–because, Bamberg said, under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act, claims can be brought only against the employing governmental entity and not the employee himself.
Lee Plumblee of Eppes & Plumblee in Greenville mediated the settlement, which was submitted to the court on Sept. 3.
“There are important takeaways from this situation,” Bamberg said. “Everyone, including law enforcement officers, need never forget the importance of exercising due diligence when driving a vehicle on our highways. Just seconds of carelessness can change lives. Fortunately, everyone involved in this terrible accident lived to talk about it. Many across our state aren’t so lucky. While we want officers making it to scenes as quick as possible, they must do so safely for the benefit of themselves and others.”
Chuck Turner of Willson Jones Carter & Baxley in Greenville represented the sheriff’s office. Turner did not return a request for comment.
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SETTLEMENT REPORT — AUTOMOBILE CRASH
Injuries alleged: Broken wrist, bruising, broken sternum, bruised ribs, and soft tissue injuries
Case name: Lamara Wilson and Jaquita Suit v. Greenville County Sheriff’s Office
Court: Greenville County Circuit Court
Case No.: 2019-CP-23-00372
Judge: Perry H. Gravely
Mediator: Lee Plumblee of Eppes & Plumblee in Greenville
Date of settlement: Sept. 3
Attorneys for plaintiff: Justin Bamberg of Bamberg Legal in Bamberg and Fatima Zeidan of Eicholtz Law Firm in Savannah, Georgia
Attorney for defendant: Chuck Turner of Willson Jones Carter & Baxley of Greenville